CESARI, Giuseppe
(b. 1568, Arpino, d. 1640, Roma)

Diana and Actaeon

Oil on copper, 50 x 69 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Ovid describes at length (Met. 3:138-253) how the young prince Actaeon, hunting in the forest, stumbled accidentally upon the grotto where Diana and her companion were bathing. To punish him for the glimpse of divine nudity, the goddess turned him into a stag. He was pursued and torn to pieces by his own hounds. The painting depicts when Actaeon has sprouted antlers. He staggers backwards as his own dogs spring at him.

The painting is signed below on stone, in front of Actaeon's leg: IOSEPH(US) ARPINA(S) F(ECIT).